Divorce in the 21st century looks very different than it used to! Adults seeking to end their marriage have a variety of options and paths to do so, many of which do not require a visit to court or arduous battle over who gets to keep the kitchen table and who has to move out.
Collaborative Divorce is an approach to the dissolution of a marriage where both parties agree to take a more harmonious path to breaking up. Each spouse hires a Collaboratively-trained attorney to represent them, and the attorneys build a Collaborative Team consisting of Mental Health Professionals (that’s where we come in!), Divorce Coaches, Child Specialists, Divorce Financial Planners, and others who might help in this specially trained way of ending a marriage.
In Collaborative Divorce, you decide when and how your marriage will end. This approach leads the parties to:
Negotiate a mutually agreeable resolution without having to turn the power over to the courts to decide what comes next
Maintain open and respectful communication and a reasonable sharing of information
Create shared solutions acknowledging the shared priorities of the family
Our role in Collaborative Divorce is to help the parties navigate the often-challenging emotions that can arise during a divorce. So much of what makes divorce and post-divorce family life difficult is that people have a hard time managing their emotions and channeling them in a proper way. So much of this difficulty stems from unresolved childhood traumas.
These familiar, but unhealthy patterns unknowingly hurt those we are in relationship with – including our children! Parents often forget that children love and inherit traits from both of their parents. While you may divorce your spouse, it is unreasonable to expect your children to divorce their other parent.
Collaborative Divorce is a reasonable way to put the control back in the hands of divorcing spouses, who agree that their family’s long-term health is the most important priority. Collaborative Divorce is a great way to build a positive co-parenting relationship after the marriage ends.
ARE YOU COMMITTED TO REDUCING THE TIME, FINANCIAL AND EMOTIONAL COSTS OF GOING TO COURT?
If so, Collaborative Divorce may be for YOU!
Jordana Wolfson is a board member of the Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan.